Greenhorns Bangladesh face tough India test

Published: Thursday, May 17, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Chittagong:India skipper Rahul Dravid believes a lack of Test experience will be the undoing of Bangladesh in their upcoming series.

The first of their two-Test series starts on Friday at Rahul Amin Stadium in Chittagong. India won a three-match one-day series 2-0 after the final game was abandoned because of a waterlogged outfield.

"Obviously it is going to be a bit more difficult for them in Tests simply because they haven't played that much Test cricket," said Dravid.

"We have got players who have a lot of Test experience. So we expect to do well in both the Test matches."

Experienced batsmen Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly and leg-spinner Anil Kumble, who did not play in the one-day series, have joined India for the Tests.

Bangladesh last played a two-match Test series at home in April 2006 when they lost 2-0 to Australia.

The hosts have injury worries in the form of former skipper Khaled Mashud, while Mohammad Ashraful has just been released from hospital after a fever.

Captain Habibul Bashar told reporters he hoped Mashud and Ashraful would regain full fitness before the first Test, but conceded that a lack of Test experience was a concern.

"It's really worrying that we haven't played any Test cricket in over a year," he said.

"But it is the right time for us to return to Test cricket. We have been playing good cricket and the number of performing cricketers in the team has also increased significantly in the last year."

Since attaining Test status in 2000, Bangladesh have played 44 Tests matches, winning one, losing 39 and drawing four.

Jumbo says heat factor plays a big role: Veteran leggie Anil Kumble today said the team that coped up with the heat and humidity early will have an advantage in the Test series.

Talking to the media after a gruelling practice session, Kumble said, ''The conditions are very hot and humid and the team that acclamatised first and adjusted to the conditions would have an upper hand in the Test.''

Asked on how focused was he now that he had retired from the shorter version of the game, he said, ''I feel more relaxed now.

But there is no problem with focusing. I am concentrating on the longer version fulltime.'' On his expectations from the Test series, he said, ''The last time we played we won convincingly. Hopefully we will keep the winning momentum. We will go into the Test matches with that frame of mind.''

Asked to comment on the Bangladesh side, he said, ''I have seen them during the World Cup. They have improved a lot. We respect them as a team.'' ''The last Test they played against Australia, they did very well. They came close to winning. So we know we have a game in our hands,''he added.

Dada eyeing big knocks: Denying his drafting into the Test team as a comeback, former skipper Sourav Ganguly said if got a chance he would try to convert the 80s into a ton in Bangladesh.

''I don't think of it as a comeback. We were not dropped, but officially rested. This also gave a chance to few youngsters to perform,'' said Ganguly.

Ganguly who has been consistent in the Test series after making a comeback in South Africa, said, ''I have been the highest run getter in Tests in South Africa. The good thing is I have been consistant. I have got runs under the belt. Here if I get to the eighties I will surely try to convert them into century.''

Ganguly also savoured his huge popularity in this part of the world, saying, ''I don't consider Bangladesh as a different country.

It's like my own country. I captained in my first Test here. So Bangladesh will always be special for me.'' Team India Cricket Manager Ravi Shastri who stood all along watching Ganguly bat, also kept talking to the Bengal Tiger at regular intervals


India: Rahul Dravid (Capt), Wasim Jaffer, Sachin Tendulkar, V V S Laxman, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Sourav Ganguly, Yuvraj Singh, Dinesh Karthik, R P Singh, Zaheer Khan, V R V Singh, Munaf Patel, Anil Kumble, Ramesh Powar and Rajesh Pawar.

Bangladesh: Habibul Bashar ( Capt), Mohammad Ashraful, Javed Omar, Shahriar Nafees, Saqibul Hasan, Rajin Saleh, Tushar Imran, Khaled Mashud (wk), Mohammed Rafique, Enamul Haque (jr), Mashrafe Mortaza, Shahadat Hossain, Syed Rasel and Mehrab Hossain (jr).


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